Plans to keep funding cash-strapped Bexhill events

The popular Roaring 20s could be in line for more council funding. Photo Simon Newbury. SUS-150720-104537001
The popular Roaring 20s could be in line for more council funding. Photo Simon Newbury. SUS-150720-104537001

Popular events in Bexhill including Roaring 20s could be in line for further council funding after organisers claimed they could not continue without more money.

Rother District Council’s cabinet will discuss a proposal to ring-fence a third of the £9,000 set aside for funding new Bexhill events for established ones.

The plans come after organisers of Roaring 20s, Bexhill Motofest and Festival of the Sea said they needed more money to keep the events going.

All three have received grants from the council designed to support them for three years but steadily decrease to make them self-sufficient but also to establish them to attract investors, called a ‘pump priming package’.

“The three large events; Roaring 20s, MotoFest and Festival of the Sea have all come to the end of their pump priming package,” the cabinet report says.

“However, some organisers have indicated without further funding from the council their event may not be able to continue.

“The council is therefore being challenged with either continuing its adopted policy of welcoming new events into the town with the pump priming monies

or continuing to fund the existing events, enabling them to become more established.”

Each event will have to re-apply for the additional funding, with favour given to those who prove what is being done to reduce their reliance on Rother, if the proposal is agreed at the meeting on December 5.

Officers are also looking at other ways to support events, including buying infrastructure which could be used by event organisers such as security fencing, according to the report.

Insurers Hastings Direct proposed to potentially match Rother’s funding and for a community interest company to manage the events budget.

Motofest organiser Howard Martin told the Observer events like his were in danger of ending if Rother did not step in, which would be a big blow to Bexhill’s tourism.

“My event is worth around £750,000 to the local economy, bringing thousands of people to the town and filling our B&Bs and restaurants, but the council is basically saying ‘go away, we don’t want you here’,” he said.

“We’ve tried really hard to find alternative sources of funding but without the council’s backing we cannot make it free entry which jeopardises the entire event.”

Major Bexhill events ‘in jeopardy unless Rother continues funding’

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